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Closing The Deal- With Numbers!

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Giro09-main_mediumWe're halfway done with this Giro and the obviousstoryline is can Di Luca close the deal? So I thought it would be instructive to look back at a bunch of recent Grand Tours to see who was leading after stage 11, where they finished, and if there was a different winner, where were they post-stage 11. Pretty simple, eh? I went back through the 2000 Giro, 27 Grand Tours in all. Here's a summary of what I found in what is definitely a small sample:

-First of all, how often has the leader after stage 11 gone on to win a race? Answer: 9 of 27. Lance did it four of those times. Simoni did it once, Cunego did it, Menchov did it twice, and Basso once. When Menchov won because Heras was booted for doping, he was leading after stage 11.  So one-third of the time a person in Killer's place right now has gone on to win. Or, to make it plain, two-thirds of the time the guy in Killer's place right now didn't win.

- How often did the leader of stage 11 gone on to podium? Answer: 15 of 27. That's 55% of the time that a rider who was #1 after stage 11 podiumed. I would have thought it was higher.

- 3 of 27 leaders at stage 11 were subsequently booted for doping: Rasmussen, Landis, and Frigo.

- 2 of 27 leaders after stage 11 did not finish for non-doping reasons: Heppner in the 02 Giro and Landis in the 04 Vuelta.

- 2 of 27 leaders after stage 11 finished more than an hour behind by the end: Visconti in last year's Giro and Noe in the 07 Giro.

- 7 of the 27 finished the race more than 10 minutes behind the winner.

Now let's look at the riders who were chasing #1 after stage 11.

- Oscar Pereiro was the worst placed of the winners at stage 11 being in 47th place. As you will see he's quite an outlier in this little sample. If you discount him then the lowest placed rider after a stage 11 was none other than Killer himself in 07. He was 8th in the 07 Giro.

Two riders came back from 6th place: Lance at the 04 Tour and Garzelli in the 00 Giro. (None won after being in 7th place.)

- Coming from 5th place were Heras twice (03, 04 Vueltas), Vino at the 06 Vuelta, and Contador in the 07 Tour.

- All other winners were 4th or better after stage 11. That's 70%.

So look at the top 8 in GC now: Killer, Menchov, Rogers, Leipheimer, Pellizotti, Sastre, Basso, and Lovkvist. In considering placing, the odds are exceedingly low for anyone else to win as only Pereiro did it since 2000. Really only the top four here have much of a chance.

- But how about time? Discounting Pereiro again, the following were further behind by time after stage 11 than Lovkvist is now (2:12 back is Tommy):

-Armstrong was the furtherest back,13:07 behind in the 01 Tour and in 3rd place,

-Lance was also 9:35 behind Voeckler and in 6th place of the 04 Tour.

-Contador in last year's Giro, 6:50 back and in 3rd place,

-Savoldelli, 3:43 back in the 02 Giro; 4th place.

-Heras in the 03 Vuelta: 3rd place 3:28 down,

-Contador in the 07 Tour, 3:08 back in 5th,

-Di Luca 2:58 behind in 8th place of the 07 Giro.

- Di Luca has a 1:20 lead over Menchov. How does this compare to other big leads at this point? Nine other races had a leader with a bigger advantage than Killer has right now over Menchov. Only three of those nine closed the deal .

Conclusions? That you, oh biased reader (moi biased? I'm shocked!) will entertain? How about:

1) Killer's in good position but is far, far from winning this thing. His lead is unusually big but then again, that doesn't mean much.

2) Menchov in 2nd place wants to follow in the pedals of the four other 2nd placed riders after stage 11 who've gone on to win a race.

3) If not the top two, Rogers (3rd), Leipheimer (4th), and Pellizotti (5th), and Sastre (6th) are far more likely to win compared to Basso, Lovkvist and the rest of the field.

[edit- Only 8 of 27 races featured a rider who came back from being further down than Lovkvist, Basso, Sastre, and Pellizotti are now. 11 of 27 had either the same deficit or were worse than Menchov is now- but that just swings back to the big leads don't translate into wins often factoid.]

Jump for details!

 

 

1. 2008 Vuelta

Leader post stage 11: Egoi Martinez, 11 seconds ahead of Levi.

Eventual winner? Alberto Contador was in 3rd, 32 seconds behind. He won by 46 seconds over Levi, 10:57 over 9th place Martinez.

2. 2008 Tour

Leader post stage 11: Cadel Evans, 1 second ahead of Frank Schleck

Eventual winner? Carlos Sastre was in 6th, 1:28 behind. He won by 58 seconds over Cadel.

3. 2008 Giro

Leader post stage 11: Giovanni Visconti, 5:50 ahead of Gabriele Bosisio.

Eventual winner? Alberto Contador was 3rd, 6:59 behind. He won by 1:57 over Ricardo Ricco. Visconti finished 42nd, 1:30:17 behind.

4. 2007 Vuelta

Leader post stage 11: Dennis Menchov, 2:01 ahead of Vlad Efimkin

Eventual winner? Menchov, 3:31 ahead of Sastre.

5. 2007 Tour

Leader post stage 11: Michael Rasmussen, 2:35 ahead of Alejandro Valverde

Eventual winner? Alberto Contador was in 5th, 3:08 behind. Mayo (2:39 behind) and Evans (2:40) were also ahead of Bert. He won by 23 seconds ahead of Cadel.

Comment: Rasmussen was of course kicked out after Contador was in 2nd.

6. 2007 Giro

Leader post stage 11: Andrea Noe, 1:08 ahead of Marzio Bruseghin

Eventual winner? Danilo Di Luca was in 8th, 2:58 behind. Arroyo, Vila, Petrov, SELLA!, and Yakolev were all ahead of Killer who won by 1:55 over Andy Schleck (12th after stage 11, 4:04 behind). Noe finished in 35th, 1:09:22 behind.

7. 2006 Vuelta

Leader post stage 11: Valverde, 27 seconds ahead of Kashechkin.

Eventual winner? Alexandre Vinokourov was 5th, 1:38 behind. Also ahead of Vino were Sastre and Marchante. Vino won by 1:12 over Valverde.

8. 2006 Tour

Leader post stage 11: Floyd Landis, 8 seconds ahead of Cyril Dessel.

Eventual winner? Well... Pereiro was in 47th, 28:31 behind Landis

9. 2006 Giro

Leader post stage 11: Ivan Basso, 2:48 ahead of Ivan Gutierrez

Eventual winner? Basso, 9:18 ahead of Gutierrez.

10. 2005 Vuelta

Leader post stage 11: Dennis Menchov, 47 seconds ahead of Roberto Heras

Eventual winner? Menchov declared winner after Heras was booted. At the finish line, Heras was 4:36 ahead of 2nd place Menchov.

11. 2005 Tour

Leader post stage 11: Lance Armstrong, 38 seconds ahead of Chicken.

Eventual winner? Lance, by 4:40 over Basso who was in  4th after stage 11, 2:40 down. Rasmussen finished in 7th, 11:33 down.

12. 2005 Giro

Leader post stage 11: Ivan Basso, 18 seconds ahead of Savoldelli.

Eventual winner? Savoldelli by 28 seconds over Simoni. Basso finished in 28th, 57:05 back.

13. 2004 Vuelta

Leader post stage 11: Floyd Landis by 9 seconds over Valverde.

Eventual winner? Roberto Heras by 30 seconds over Santiago Perez. Landis did not finish stage 18. Heras was in 5th place after stage 11, 47 seconds back and also behind, Mancebo and Nozal.

14. 2004 Tour

Leader post stage 11: Thomas Voeckler by 3 minutes even over Stuart O'Grady.

Eventual winner? Lance Armstrong by 6:19 over Andreas Kloden. Lance was in 6th place after stage 11, 9:35 back of Voeckler, O'Grady, Casar, Virenque, and Piil. Voeckler meanwhile finished in 18th place, 31:12 back.

15. 2004 Giro

Leader post stage 11: Damiano Cunego by 10 seconds over Simoni.

Eventual winner? Cunego by 2:02 over Serguei Gonchar.

16. 2003 Vuelta

Leader post stage 11: Isidro Nozal by 1:48 over Igor Gonzalez.

Eventual winner? Roberto Heras by 28 seconds over Nozal.  Heras was in 5th place after stage 11, 3:28 back of Nozal, Gonzalez, Beltran, and Frigo.

17. 2003 Tour

Leader post stage 11: Lance by 21 seconds over Vino.

Eventual winner? Lance by 1:01 over Ullrich.

18. 2003 Giro

Leader post stage 11: Simoni by 2 seconds over Garzelli

Eventual winner? Simoni by 7:06 over Garzelli

19. 2002 Vuelta

Leader post stage 11: Oscar Sevilla by 1 second over Aitor Gonzalez.

Eventual winner? Gonzalez by 2:14 over Roberto Heras. Sevilla finished in 4th place, 3:26 behind the winner.

20. 2002 Tour

Leader post stage 11: Lance by 1:12 over Beloki.

Eventual winner? Lance by 7:17 over Beloki

21. 2002 Giro

Leader post stage 11: Jens Heppner by 2:58 over Francesco Casagrande

Eventual winner? Savoldelli by 1:41 over Tyler Hamilton. Savoldelli was in 4th place after stage 11, 3:43 back. Heppner did not start stage 18 after leading through stage 15.

22. 2001 Vuelta

Leader post stage 11: Oscar Sevilla by 37 seconds over Angel Casero.

Eventual winner? Casero by 47 seconds over Sevilla.

23. 2001 Tour

Leader post stage 11: Francois Simon by 11:01 over Andrei Kivilev

Eventual winner? Lance by 6:44 over Ullrich. Lance after stage 11 was in 3rd, 13:07 behind. Simon finished 6th, 17:22 behind.

24. 2001 Giro

Leader post stage 11: Dario Frigo by 3 seconds over Jose Azevedo

Eventual winner? Simoni by 7:31 over Abraham Olano. Simoni was in 4th place after stage 11, 15 seconds behind. Frigo was booted from the race after stage 19 for doping. He was still in 2nd, 15 second behind Gibo.

25. 2000 Vuelta

Leader post stage 11: Angel Casero by 1:15 over Roberto Heras.

Eventual winner? Roberto Heras by 2:33 over Casero.

26. 2000 Tour

Leader post stage 11: Lance by 4:14 over Ullrich.

Eventual winner? Lance by 6:02 over Ullrich.

27. 2000 Giro

Leader post stage 11: Casagrande by 4 seconds over Wladimir Belli

Eventual winner? Garzelli by 1:27 over Casagrande. Garzelli was in 6th place after stage 11, 22 seconds behind Casagrande, Belli, Tonkov, Di Luca, and Hruska.